Buy It From Your Local Bike Shop

SRAM PC 1071 chain, showing list price of $69.99.  The name of the local bike shop has been whited out so as not to embarrass them.

Over the last few years I’ve spent a lot of money buying, building, and fixing my various bikes.  Too much money, really.  But if you have to have a vice, I guess one that makes you healthy is the best kind to have.  And being a local business owner, I always try to shop locally if possible. As I began writing this article, I decided to check Quicken to find out exactly how much I’d spent.  I was astounded to find that I’d spent $33,239 supporting this addiction of mine over the last three years or so.  Fortunately I’ve sold quite a few bikes and lots of extra parts.  I also pulled up the receipts from the two local bicycle shops that I try to support, although truthfully one has received the bulk of my business. Again, I was surprised to learn...

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Dingo (the Trail Dog)
2011 – 2013

On Tuesday morning, September 17, 2013 at approximately 7AM,  my faithful companion, Dingo died doing what she loved to do best: running mountain bike trails. As many of you know, one section of the Smith Lake mountain bike trail runs fairly close to Honeycutt Road, a 5-lane major artery into Fort Bragg.  For some unknown reason, perhaps chasing a bird or other animal, she apparently darted out of the woods and into 50-mph rush hour traffic. The wife of a friend actually saw her as she was hit by a car, having recognized her picture from my post on Facebook.  Thankfully, she was killed instantly.  Many of us, and especially I will miss her terribly. Since I rescued her in August of last year, she has been by my side most of every day.  If I got up to...

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Fully Rigid and Single Speed (Part 2)

Nearly two pounds heavier with the Fox Terralogic fork.

Okay, so I gave it a try (see my article on making my single speed Raleigh Talus Carbon Pro fully rigid).  Today I rode about 20 miles at a moderate effort today on various surfaces.  What were the pros and cons and what was the verdict? Weight.  Yes, the rigid bike was lighter — much lighter.  Rigid was 18 lbs. 6 oz.  With the Fox Float FIT Terralogic 80mm fork the bike weighs in at 20 lbs. 5 oz. for an increased weight of 1 lb. 15 oz. or a hefty weight penalty of 10.5%!  Fortunately it is static weight. Handling.  Obviously handling is a subjective thing.  Speed, on the other hand, is not subjective.  I found myself bouncing around even the mildest corners and downhills.  Cornering was somewhat slower.  Downhills were much slower.  My...

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Fully Rigid and Single Speed (Part 1)

They don't get much lighter than this!

I finally did it.  I’ve been threatening to do it for a while, but have always talked myself out of it.  Not this time.  I took the Fox Float FIT Terralogic 80mm suspension fork off my single speed Raleigh Talus Carbon Pro. I’ve always liked riding rigid — the bike just feels like it is not even there it’s so light.  It climbs like a goat and it corners like it’s on rails.  Well, unless there are lots of roots and rocks, in which case it tends to bounce around a bit.  Technical descents get a bit bumpy as well. Lately I’ve been reading a lot and researching online trying to figure out how to ramp up my technical skills and one common theme I keep coming across is riding a fully rigid bike.  The theory seems to be that with suspension you...

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Homemade Power Bleeder

Power bleeder 480

I have brand new Hayes Prime hydraulic disc brakes on my two race mountain bikes.  Great brakes.  Reasonably light.  Easily adjustable.  Like all hydraulic brake sets, they come pre-bled from the factory.  The bummer is they come with 75′ long hydraulic lines, just in case you are installing them on a tandem or other gigantic bike.  Well, I ride a small frame bike so I have two options:  Option one is to leave the system pre-bled and roll up the extra 3 feet of brake line and tape it to frame or handlebars.  Definitely falls under the “you might be a redneck if…” category.  Option two is to shorten the lines to properly fit the bike.  But that means breaking the factory seal and allowing the possibility of air going into the...

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Dingo the Trail Dog

Dingo the Trail Dog

This is the amazing Dingo, my trail dog.  I was looking for a running partner and rescued her in August 2012 when she was about 9 months old. She weighs 33 pounds and had already been spayed when I adopted her.     Active, playful, and loyal, she is always interested in the action and drags me along for our daily 6-mile run at oh-dark-thirty.  She would gladly run twice that far.  One time I was riding my mountain bike at Uwharrie with some friends and she was happy to run alongside whoever was out front.  Parts of that trail are steep climbs and other parts are double track jeep roads where we got over 20mph.  She stayed with us for almost three 11 mile laps before just deciding she’d had enough and just laid down in the middle of the...

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Why I’m a Weight Weenie

weight weenie

Okay, I’ll admit it… I’m a weight weenie, and I’m proud of it. The reason is really pretty simple: I race mountain bikes and I like to win. I don’t like losing. And winning a bicycle race depends on having the best combination of technical skills, effective power, and luck on any given day. Here is the problem. Luck is largely uncontrollable, although it is amazing how much luckier those who are best prepared tend to be. Technical skills are acquired very slowly and over years of riding and consistent practice. That leaves only one element that can be readily manipulated: effective power. All power is not equal. Think about it. A semi truck engine might produce 700 horsepower and a new sports car might produce 350 horsepower. Which one is...

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